Thursday, February 18, 2010

On stockings

There is a girl in my office who wears black stockings every day. I don't know how long this has been going on but we're in the last month of a Queensland summer and she's still wearing them.

Perhaps I should set the scene. This is Brisbane. Summer in Brisbane means daily temperatures regularly above 30 degrees Celcius and a high degree of humidity. Over the last week, we've had weather that I can only compare to Bangkok in May. As in 35 degrees with 90% humidity. It's been very, very uncomfortable weather. And still she wears stockings. I asked her if she ever gets hot in them, she said no. I haven't yet had the courage to ask her why she actually wears them. Hardly anyone else around here who wears skirts to work in summer does, which just makes it plain strange.

I was never a fan of stockings. I've owned a few pairs in my lifetime and I tend to buy one new pair every winter, which then never get worn except in the direst of circumstances (ie. pants are all in the laundry basket and a skirt is the only option).

They're so uncomfortable. And even though they cover your legs, you still have to shave them otherwise it's unbearable (for you and for others). And yet, I've always aspired to be that be-stockinged office girl, striding down the pavement in a sensible pencil skirt and heels, satchel at my side, on the way to my important work.
I think I've come to realise now those days will never come - putting that much effort into my work outfits is just beyond me most days. But a girl can still dream.

As me again in winter when it's zero degrees with an Artic wind blowing across the train platform.

Friday, February 12, 2010

On sleep

Sleep. It's a basic human need. Though my boyfriend continues to prove that we can go long stretches without it. Seriously, I've seen him charge on for over 48hrs straight fueled purely by caffeine drinks and pure grit. And still be able to function normally.

Me, I need lots of it. At least 7 hours a night or I'm useless to everyone. What annoys me though is I seem to have lost the ability to enjoy a sleep-in. I used to be a champion sleep-iner. During my uni years, I clearly remember not stirring until after lunch on days when I didn't have morning lectures.

Now, on days I'm not working, I wake at 9am at the latest and lie there thinking about how much I'd love to go back to sleep but worrying about all the housework I have to do. Yes, housework. Damn it to hell.

So if I'm not up and about by then I now feel like the day is half wasted! What a turnabout. Does this mean I'm growing up? But there's worse to come.

I've conducted a cursory study with the people I know who have kids. They are unanimous in their assessment of sleep after having children - you'll never sleep in again. Ever. I will be up at dawn every day for the rest of my life.

So having kids, it appears, seems to be like joining the military. Lots of getting up early and running about. I'll have to add that piece of information to the 'con' side of my Having Children list. Sleep'll be hard to give up, for sure.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

On ambition

I turned 29 last month. There. I said it.
I'm a bit worried, not because I'm getting old(er) but because I thought I would have have achieved more by now. Well, be married with kids or something. Or at least know the direction my life was headed in.
When I was in high school I had a homeroom teacher who made use write down 25 goals at the beginning of the year. The first 5 were short term goals to be achieved by the end of the year. The next 5 were to achieve within the next two years. The next ones within 5 years and so on. Then he told us to write 5 very cool, very fantastic, hearts'-desire goals.
I don’t remember what my Fantastic Goals were (pretty sure there was "own a McLaren F1" in there somewhere though) but I do remember some of my 5-10 year goals clearly. There was Travel the World (tick), Live in London For A Time (cross), Go to Uni and Get a Degree (tick) Get A Well-Paid Career (half tick) and Find the Man of My Dreams (surprising, tick!).
And now that I think about it, that's a pretty good strike rate. So why don't I feel like I've accomplished much? I think it's mainly because I have never had any ambition job-wise. I really, honestly, never had a career in mind when I was growing up. When I left high school, I got such a good OP score everyone expected me to do law or medicine. I balked out of Law at the last minute and did what I had suddenly decided that I wanted to do - Arts (for fun) and Commerce (for practical job-getting). After four years of study, the only things I figured out were a) I hate finance and most forms of commerce; and b) I love Anthropology but not enough to make it a career.
And so I landed by a serious of unfortunate incidents into my current Contact Centre job. Five years later, I feel stagnant, I'm itching to get out and really, really over telecommunications.
But I've got the same damn problem - I don't know what I want to do with my life. I desperately need to find my passion. And pay the mortgage at the same time. I feel adrift, directionless and lacking in ambition. It's so bad I was half-tempted this morning to look at a correspondence course in interior design.
I want to be that woman in That's Life! Who writes in about how she always knew she wanted to be a zookeeper, and now she's caring for giraffes in South Africa or some such. Or the kid who always wanted to be a firefighter, or a doctor and every bit of his education and effort has been bent towards this goal.
I need advice, peoples - how did you figure out your passion? Did you always know what you wanted to do with your life?

Friday, February 5, 2010

On interiors

Somewhere along the line, I have acquired a taste for beautiful interior design. I think it's my mother's fault - she's kept me on a steady diet of 'home' magazines for many years.

My long-time love affair with 'Country Style' doesn't look like abating any time soon, and my house is filled with magazine holders filled with publications like 'Home & Garden', 'Home Beautiful' and 'Vogue Living'. I greedily paw my way through each new issue, wishing I had homes like those in the glossy pages of each bible (and at the same time wishing I could take photos like the ones in 'Country Style', they are so gorgeous!).

I dream of completely redorating my ordinary house - currently furnished in a style best described as 'busy mother haphazard, circa 1980'. You see, my boyfried and I bought his parents' house - and when they moved out, they left us a lot of lovely things. Useful things, like the dryer, washing machine, fridges and the dish washer. But also many other items - a lounge, a dining room set, a very large display cabinet and a collection of old drawers and cabinets that had seen better days.

Don't get me wrong- I'm grateful. I just want a house filled with OUR things, not THEIR things. I want a fresh look, perhaps a pretty French Provincial makeover in a palette of off-white, beige and soft cornflower blue. Or a green and white shabby chic house full of distressed white furniture and glass displayed on side-tables. And vases overflowing with peonies and roses. Or even an Australian colonial theme - wood floors, parquetry, beautiful silky-oak side boards and 15-ft ceilings with stunning light fittings. Ooo, and a wrap-around verandah. Littered with quirky 'found' antiques. Don't think I'm getting the latter though, as our home is brick veneer!

Recently, in a rash moment, my boyfriend and I decided to swap the living room and the dining room. It took us all day to move furniture, didn't really find a good new place for anything; then gave up in despair. As a result, there's a big bookcase blocking the light through the front window, boxes of stuff everywhere (we're gradually packing up the parents' knick-knacks) and for a memorable week, the cable tv cord running from one end of the house to the other. I just look at it all and despair. I have lacked the motivation to try to clean it up or rearrange anything.

I think I just need to admit to myself I'll never had a house worthy of 'Home Beautiful'. That might take away some of my stress about the state of my home. I am however hoping to find the motivation to get moving on the mess this weekend.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On exercise

Exercise and I have not always been the best of friends. In our golden period, we each acknowledged the other as worthy enemies and agreed to a mutally beneficial relationship. Exercise agreed to not be too demanding on me, and I agreed to actually do some.

Now I'm a gym member again after a hiatus of over 3 years and it's very, very hard to get back into the exercise groove. I'm not a self-starter at the best of times, and finding the motivation to go to go do a workout after a long shift of people yelling at me and cursing at the computer is hard. This situation is also not helped by the fact that my gym is frequently staffed by the most amazingly handsome, fit men and that I actually fell off the treadmill last week. Well, I didn't fall ALL the way down to the floor but I definately tripped and stumbled off the side. It wasn't even moving at the time.

But the gym is definately better than walking. My mother walks every day at 5am, rain, hail or shine. Heat, flies or blisteringly cold artic wind also. She lives in a place that gets down to -7 degrees in July and she'll still go for a walk down the road. I tell her all the time she's a crazy woman but it doesn't stop her from nagging me about walking. I HATE walking. It's so boring. Even with music. If I could follow my Twitter list or play Petville or something while doing it perhaps I would like it better, but since that's not possible I will only walk when pushed. Or threatened, as is usually the case when I visit my mum.

But my fave exercise is swimming. I continually am amazed by the fact that I now own a house with a pool. Swimming is awesome. Pity it's only 7 strokes from end to end.

Maybe the gym is the best option for exercise, after all.


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